“Over time the CPVC is to get brittle and cracking, so I will no longer apply it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it on the repair when the system already has it in there, but I don’t use CPVC for repipes anymore.”
Grzetich is just not alone. Though still an accepted material for piping, CPVC is losing favor with some plumbers because they encounter various problems with it while at the job. They are saying it’s less a point of if issues will occur but once.
“On some houses it lasts quite quite a long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I do believe it has more to do with temperature and placement of your pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But as time passes, just about any CPVC is going to get brittle and finally crack. And once it cracks, it cracks pretty good after which you’re going to get a steady stream of water out of it. It’s unlike copper where you get a leak in it and it just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it goes. I had been at a house the other day, and then there were three leaks within the ceiling, all from CPVC. So when I tried to mend them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber employed by Whole House Repipe Missouri City, Colorado, says in his work he encounters CPVC piping about 20 % of the time.
“It’s approved to put in houses, however i think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s coming out of the surface and you kick it or anything, there is a pretty good chance of breaking it.”
He doesn’t utilize it for repiping and prefers copper, partly as a result of craftsmanship associated with installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber therefore i would rather use copper. It actually needs a craftsman to place it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe making it look really good making it look right.”
But as being a less expensive option to copper that doesn’t carry a number of the problems connected with CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich and other plumbers say they generally use PEX mainly because it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, and in addition carries a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s just as much about the ease of installation as it is providing customers something which is less likely to result in issues eventually.
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“A lots of it comes down to budget, yes, but also if you’re performing a repipe over a finished house where you must cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to make it happen in PEX because you can fish it through like an electrical wire,” Mayfield says. “It cuts the labor down for sure.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that put in place for a certain amount of time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you only cut it with a plastic cutter, expand it having a tool and placed it over a fitting. It’s much less labor intensive with regards to gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you have to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you could probably run 30 or 40 feet than it through some holes and you also don’t have any joints.”
Any piping product will probably be susceptible to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC features a smaller margin for error than PEX since it is a more rigid pipe that has a tendency to get especially brittle over time.
“If a plumber uses CPVC and is also, say, off by half an inch on their holes, they’ll must flex the pipe to obtain it in the hole,” he says. “It will likely be fine for many years after which suddenly, due to strain, build a crack or leak. Everything has to be really precise in the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s yet another little nerve-wracking to work on because through taking an angle stop that’s screwed onto CPVC and you’re using two wrenches, you usually flex the pipe a bit. You’re always concerned about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a property inside a new subdivision – the home was only 6 yrs old – so we needed to replumb the full house as it is at CPVC. We actually finished up doing three other jobs inside the same neighborhood. Next, the first repipe we did is in CPVC because we didn’t know what else to use. Then again we considered it and found a much better product.”
“I’ve done about 20 repipes with Uponor. I’ve had zero callbacks, zero issues,” he says. “I utilize it over copper usually. Really the only time I prefer copper is designed for stub-outs so it will be look nice. Copper remains to be a good product. It’s just expensive.
“I know plumbers who still use CPVC. Some people just stick to their old guns so when something such as Uponor is released, they wait awhile before they begin utilizing it.”
But as outlined by Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can still be a reliable material to get a plumbing system provided that it’s installed properly.
In a blog on his company’s website, Forbes writes about a few of the concerns surrounding CPVC, noting that in his experience, CPVC pipe failures are related to improper installation and usually affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and when the device is installed that fails to allow the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this could cause a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance We have observed was due to an improperly designed/installed system.”
In accordance with CPVC pipe manufacturer Lubrizol, CPVC will expand about an inch for each 50 feet of length when put through a 50-degree temperature increase. Offsets or loops are very important for very long runs of pipe in order to accommodate that expansion.
“I assume that the situation resides because many plumbers installed CPVC much like copper, and did not enable an added expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in his blog. “If the piping is installed … with sufficient variations in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is no problem.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could get brittle, and extra care ought to be taken when trying to repair it. Still, he stands behind the item.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is great and is not going to must be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my own house with CPVC over several years ago – no problems.”
More often than not though, PEX is becoming the fabric of preference.
In their Los Angeles service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes you can see it in mobile homes or modular homes, however i can’t think of a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, in the 15 years I’ve been working here,” he says. “I don’t know why it’s not around here. We used a variety of it doing tract homes in Colorado inside the 1990s after i was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell in most cases encounters in their work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice because you can snake it into places and you don’t must open as many walls as you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody stumbled on me and wanted to perform a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it might be 2 1/2 times the cost of a PEX repipe just due to material and the extra time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for that.”
In their limited experience working with CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen exactly the same issues explained by others.
“The glue tends to take an especially long time to dry and that i do mostly service work so the thought of repairing CPVC and waiting hours for your glue to dry isn’t very appealing,” he says. “And I’ve seen it get pretty brittle as time passes. I don’t have plenty of experience with it, but even when it were popular here, I believe I would still use PEX over CPVC. So long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any difficulties with it.”